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Jim Harbaugh talks John Skelton, Jon Baldwin, J.J. Watt and more

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Wednesday and discussed the 49ers newest quarterback, wide receiver question marks, defense and more. Here's the transcript. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Can you address the move of bringing in QB John Skelton and releasing QB B.J. Daniels? What's your reasoning for that move?

"I felt like we wanted to have two veteran quarterbacks, two guys that have started games, played in games, won games. I felt like that's what we needed to do at this time. And we'll be hopeful that B.J. will return, and trust that we have a plan for him and the process of developing him and getting him ready to play in the National Football League, as well."

What do you like best about what John Skelton brings to the team?

"Good stature in the pocket. Experienced guy. He's played, won games and been in those battles. Had an excellent workout when he was here a few weeks back. One of the better workouts I've seen from a quarterback in one of those type of workout environments."

It seems like the quarterbacks you've had success with have all had really good athleticism. Where does, where is his athleticism, Skelton's?

"There's different levels of athleticism. But, anybody that plays quarterback in the National Football League is a pretty darn good athlete."

It seems like his best game as a pro came against you guys in 2011, did that factor in at all? Do you remember that game specifically?

"Yeah, we've always, have been impressed with him. Preparing for him, even in the game where we prepared against him when he was starting. We were impressed with those games as well."

Did you guys put a waiver claim in on him in April when he came free?


Do you see, envision competition now weekly, on a weekly basis between he and QB Colt McCoy as far as who suits up for games?

"Again, I just don't look at the competitions other than the ... I understand the starting quarterback competition and the need to talk about that, but as it relates to other positions, not so much."

DT Justin Smith said he expects LB Patrick Willis to play on Sunday. How is Patrick's progress and how would you rate where he's at?

"I think good. So, we'll wait and see. He says he feel good. I anticipate he'll practice today and we'll see how that goes."

A week ago, it seemed people were looking at the 49ers as a team that were in a little bit of trouble. Then you went to St. Louis and won a big game. Right now everybody in Houston thinks the Texans are a team in big trouble. Are teams in big trouble dangerous teams?

"They're a good football team. That's what I know. I know what I see on the tape, they've got talented players. Well coached. Every game they've been in has been competitive right down to the wire. They've found a way to win games. And it's a big test for us. And that's our job is to prepare for it and get ready to win the next game. That's the most important game on the schedule and I'm sure that's how they're approaching it as well."

What are your impressions of Texans DE J.J. Watt and how he can disrupt an offense?

"Yeah he can. He can ruin a game. He can ruin a game for his opponent. And a lot of good players defensively, secondary, front seven, linebackers. A talented group. J.J. Watt is one of the top players in this league. Strong, great ability to rush the passer, get passed blocks and then on the quarterback almost immediately when he's able to that. He's able to run and use his length. A lot of really good things to his game."

I know you don't like to compare, but he seems like kind of a throwback old-school type guy. Does he bring anyone to mind for you?

"I think he's a top player in the league. He's an outstanding player."

What did LB NaVorro Bowman mean to getting kind of this defensive identity back of run stopping, pressure in Thursday's game?

"He meant a lot in our last ballgame. Our defensive player of the week and a game ball. A pressure, a sack, tackles, two tackles for loss. He was all over the field and did a great job leading our defense."

Getting back to Skelton, you look at his statistics and none of his stats really jump out at you. What about him kind of caught your eye? What makes him special in your eyes?

"For where we are, for what our situation is, a guy that's, along with Colt, who's played in games won games, being on our 53 gives (him) a chance to contribute if needed. And that's, I felt like that's what we needed from that third quarterback spot right now."

Why have two? Why have Colt and John on the team?

"I guess it's a matter of preference. Some teams go for two, some go for three. We're one of the teams that likes to have three. As we have since we've been here."

Does Skelton's arm talent stand out to you?

"Yes. Yes it does. Big strong, definitely has arm talent. I'm excited to work with him and that's really what it amounts to. Three quarterbacks that all have played in games and been in the fire and now we have three at our disposal. We have a great starter and two guys now, two guys to backup that have been in those games."

We talked to WR Jon Baldwin yesterday and he was saying he does some extra work with QB Colin Kaepernick after practice, work on his routes that he will be running. Have you seen that out here and just how has he come along in the last month?

"Jon stands out as one of the guys who gets out early. He stays after practice. Even during defensive periods, special teams periods. He's seeking Kap out or Kap's seeking him out. And there's a number of guys that do it and Jon is in that group of guys that does that extra."

What does a game like that do for RB Frank Gore going forward? He tends, in the past he tends to build off of those kind of games and keep them going.

"I think it's a positive. I think Frank knows who he is as a player and what he's capable of. I mean, to even say it's good for his confidence, I mean, he's a confident guy. So, I don't know how much it does for him."

He's had stretches where he's had 100-yard games and then rattled off four or five in a row.

"We know he's capable of that. He knows he's capable of that. And our offensive line knows he's capable of that. No question that everybody's inspired by what he does. Nobody does it like Frank Gore."

Three weeks in a row that defensive backs have jumped routes on Texans QB Matt Schaub and turned interceptions into touchdowns. Is that something that becomes a point of emphasis for your secondary this week as well? He's clearly doing something, he's tipping something.

"Defensively, what we strive to is play good team defense. Be opportunistic and we're always trying to force turnovers, be opportunistic. That's every week."

Has S Donte Whitner told you he wants to change his last name to "Hitner?" He just posted that he plans to change his last name to "Hitner?" Have you heard that?


It's not official with the team?

"It's not official with me. I haven't heard that. No."